Basketball: Abercrombie may just make finals

By Steve Deane

Breakers player Tom Abercrombie may recover from a strained ankle to reach the finals match. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Breakers player Tom Abercrombie may recover from a strained ankle to reach the finals match. Photo / Sarah Ivey

It wouldn't be a build-up to a Breakers finals match without an injury soap opera.

Last year we had Mika Vukona's busted knee - and subsequent resurrection against the Wildcats. Last week we had Cedric Jackson's horribly sprained ankle, followed by another comeback befitting the Easter period.

This week, come on down Tom Abercrombie. Actually, better make that limp on down.

Abercrombie's mouth and hands seemed to be functioning okay as he wheeled furiously away from a late collision with Peter Crawford in the dying stages of Saturday night's impressive 97-80 semifinal series-clinching victory over the Townsville Crocodiles at Vector Arena.

His left leg, not so much.

The key Breakers swingman managed about four biggish hobbles before collapsing in a heap. Alongside him sprawled face down on the Vector pine, one could surmise, lay a fair chunk of the club's title hopes.

The 24-year-old North Shore native is a vital component of the Breakers these days. Shoot, penetrate, leap, block - he does it all. If he doesn't follow in the ginger footsteps of Vukona and Jackson and pull off a remarkable recovery in time for Thursday night's opening match of a three-game Grand Final set against the Perth Wildcats, it will be a major blow.

"The diagnosis for Tom is a medial ligament strain of his left ankle; initially it looks to be a grade-two strain which for the average person is around a three- to four-week recovery," club physiotherapist said Anousith Bouaaphone. Oh dear.

"But Tom is an elite athlete and is young and very fit, so his healing time is going to be quicker than it would be for your 'normal' person."

Translation: there's every chance Abercrombie will strap his boots on. Perhaps miracles do come in threes.

"He will have a modified training programme," Bouaaphone said.

"The first two days he will be off the ankle, but then we will work him back into some on-court work. The key is to get some strength and movement into ankle, but first we have to minimise the swelling and pain.

"We are getting x-rays, but for now these are only precautionary and we will review things each day and do our best to have Tom in a position to play on Thursday."

Abercrombie was furious at Crawford for what was ruled a flagrantfoul.

With the Breakers leading by 15 and less than two minutes on the clock, the game was as good as dead when Crawford clattered Abercrombie as he attempted a dunk. A never-say-die type, Crawford didn't see it that way, but he insisted never meant to hurt Abercrombie.

"There was no malice," Crawford said. "I'd hate for [him to miss the finals]. Right now, I am missing out on a grand final so I know what it feels like ... I hope he is all right."

- NZ Herald

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